Why were early christians put to death?

Why were the early christians put to death? I always figured that it was because the govn. feared being overtaken by the new “king”. But a protestant told me I was watching too many movies. That it was really because Romans thought Christians were telling slaves not to obey their masters.

So why were Christians put to death?? Help please.

Just for some background, this is the same guy that says the Romans employed a “if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em” mentality, and started their own form of Christianity – Roman Catholicism. If that gives you any idea of who I’m dealing with here.

Your Prot freind is wrong. Did not Jesus say all authority is from above? Did not S Paul command slaves to obey their masters?

As I understand it, Christians were martyred because they refused to bow down before and worship the Roman emperor who claimed to be a god. :cool:

[quote=ChiroCatholic]…That it was really because Romans thought Christians were telling slaves not to obey their masters.
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That’s funny, because, in the letter to Philemon, Paul sends the escaped slave, Onsemus, back to his master (with a plea for mercy).

In those days, Rome tolerated alternate religions (such as Judaism), but only with official sanction (the people can only practice when and how Rome agrees to). In the very early days of the Chuch, Rome saw the Christians as a Jewish sect, and (since Judaism was officially sanctioned), they ignored them. But when the Christians began to be recognized as distinct (and unapproved) they were variously persecuted. It would not have mattered what they taught.

[quote=ChiroCatholic]Just for some background, this is the same guy that says the Romans employed a “if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em” mentality, and started their own form of Christianity – Roman Catholicism. If that gives you any idea of who I’m dealing with here.
[/quote]

Haha! Excellent! I’ve never heard that one and will definitely have to pass it on for the sheer ignorant bliss of it.

early Christians were first put to death by Jewish authorities, who used stoning, since other forms of execution were reserved for the (Roman) state authority. We have this from the accounts of the martyrdom of Stephen in Jerusalem, and Paul’s own account of the part he played in these activities.

The Roman’s began persecuting Christians in the reign of Nero when they became numerous enough to notice, when their public preaching and witness against the decadance and evil in the empire, the government, the society, and the emperor’s own household challenged the prevailing culture. The test for a person accused of promoting this sect was to acknowledge the emperor as a god which was fast becoming the state religion (even supplanting the importance of older Roman gods and godesses). This involved a public acknowledgement of the divinity of the emperor and eating food sacrificed to idols. Naturally the Christians refused and were persecuted. Nero used the growth of this sect to shift the blame for his own bad government onto the Christians when fire broke out and destoyed large parts of the city.

Persecutions under succeeding emperorers (who grew progressively more violent, more psychopathic and more short-lived) with a few notable exceptions of the few relatively benign reigns. When Constantine in the 4th century established Christianity as the official religion of the empire the persecutions ceased.

A.D .and I Claudius are two made for TV movies which depict fairly accurately the culture and climate of the world of the early Christians, and the cultural atmosphere in which the new religion grew in size, strength and influence, watered by the blood of the martyrs.

CANMan,

One thing though, although a slave is suppose to obey his master, when one accepts Jesus one has a new master …

I read that one of the reasons early christians were put to death is because the Romans thought that the christians were performing cannibalism when they did the eucharist.

[quote=ChiroCatholic]Why were the early christians put to death? I always figured that it was because the govn. feared being overtaken by the new “king”. But a protestant told me I was watching too many movies. That it was really because Romans thought Christians were telling slaves not to obey their masters.

So why were Christians put to death?? Help please.
[/quote]

Some were put to death for refusing to worship the emperor and many were put to death because they insisted that they ate the Body and drank the Blood of Christ.

The Jews were the only religion in the Roman Empire that were officially exempt from emperor worship. The Romans had an uneasy truce with them as long as they didn’t interfere with Roman Law.

So early Jewish converts to Christianity were relatively safe for awhile. As far as the Romans were concerned, they were just another Jewish sect. But when St. Paul began to convert large numbers of Gentiles, and further, when the Church advised those Gentile converts that they no longer had to obey the Jewish ritual laws, then it became perfectly apparent to the Roman authorities that these new Christians were NOT just a Jewish sect, and thus were NOT exempt from worshipping the emperor.

Requiring suspected Christians to perform ritual acts of emperor worship thus became a useful test. Those who refused were executed–not an unusual punishment at the time.

For the Roman view, see this book.

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